The few, the proud: Science majors

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 by Alexis Kaiser

I graduated from Anderson University with a core group of friends that all happened to be science majors. It’s not that I am anti-associating with other disciplines, those were just the people I spent the most time with. College memories, for me, are filled with late night study sessions, endless nutrient agar plates, frantic chalkboard diagrams, and the occasional chemical explosion.  

Science majors are a weird breed. We have this insane desire to understand how everything works. For example, I recently went Putt-Putting with some friends from work. Halfway through, I found myself contemplating how much planning went into this particular Putt-Putt course. Obviously, these were not random mounds! Designers spent time calculating the average speed with which a golf ball is hit. They then strategically placed the hole and obstacles to allow for the possibility of a hole in one. Par values were calculated from equations; they were not arbitrary values. I mentioned this, and the fact that the skeletons decorating the course were anatomically incorrect. My work friends rolled their eyes and continued playing.

Science majors pride themselves on a knowledge set that a minute part of the population cares about. We fantasize about grandeur and are haunted by the prospect of medical or graduate school. We like to pretend that we are smarter, but secretly, we are just as scared as everyone else. We know a lot of facts, but rarely have “street smart” experience.

I like to be well-rounded. I was a Biology and Psychology major with a Spanish minor thrown in for good measure. However, I lacked street smarts and professional experience. Ask me a question and I can construct an experiment to answer it. Ask me how to write professional emails and network effectively, I get a little skittish.  

Heading into senior year, I was conflicted. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school, but I was not sure which program to choose. I was not sold on the idea of signing up for five more years in the laboratory setting. Besides, many of the programs I considered asked for professional experience. How was I supposed to get any of that? I knew what I liked, but I did not know how that translated into a career. Then, I stumbled upon the Orr Fellowship.  

The Fellowship was my perfect solution. It gave me the opportunity to gain valuable experience in a fast paced environment. I was selected by Orbis Education, a company that works at the intersection of Healthcare and Education. I now have two years to grow personally and professionally before making a decision as life-changing as graduate school.  

There is a reason that graduate programs ask for professional experience. You learn things in the working world that are impossible to learn anywhere else. My first three months have been a whirlwind. I have learned different software systems, various business terminologies, and how to work on a team to accomplish tasks.

Yes, there was a steep learning curve. But, I think science majors easily make the transition into the business world. We have been trained to think critically and understand all of the working parts of a system: necessary skills in any environment. 

I am going to be honest, not every day is a picnic. Some days I miss devouring textbooks and I dream about graduate school. However, I know I made the right decision. I simply was not ready to take that step. I think a lot of college seniors, not just science majors, are in that boat.  

Who knows exactly where I will be in a few years. What I do know is that whether or not I choose graduate school, I will be 100% confident in my decision. I will know beyond a shadow of a doubt if that is the program for me. And, along the way, I will have had an amazing experience with the Orr Fellowship.

So, I encourage you to take a chance and apply. Broaden your perspective. Allow yourself to mature and grow outside of the college environment. Besides, the application is just a resume, what do you have to lose?

Working For a Digital Marketing Agency: With No Marketing Experience

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 by Will Boeckmann

When I first received the names of the companies that I was going to be interviewing with on the Orr Fellowship Finalist Day, I was surprised to see DigitalRelevance on the list of companies that was interested in me. Why you ask? Because DigitalRelevance is a marketing agency and I had zero qualifications to work there. 

  1. I did not have a marketing degree
  2. I had zero industry experience 
  3. No relevant internships
  4. Nothing on my resume even suggested I was interested in marketing 

What my resume demonstrated was a clear history of leadership, experience with technology and changing industries, and a hunger to learn. These qualifications, along with a great interview was enough to convince DigitalRelevance to take a chance and extend me an offer. 

A little background on DigitalRelevance and what we do: DigitalRelevance is an online marketing agency that creates earned media pieces to drive organic traffic to client’s websites. This all makes perfect sense right? Don’t worry I had to do about 30 minutes of Googling to find out exactly what DigitalRelevance did before my interview. In a nutshell our agency creates content (any type of digital media) that will engage both the final audience and key industry influencers with a final goal of making a website rank higher on Google’s result pages. It all boils down to getting clients to rank #1 on Google. 

When I was hired the management team gave me the option choose one of four positions: Client Campaign Manager, Media Outreach Specialist, Inbound Marketing Consultant, and Media Editor/Writer. I chose to become an Inbound Marketing Consultant. In a nutshell I am responsible for data collection, analytics, and campaign tracking. This position had a strong degree of fit with my background and personal strengths. 

So how has it gone so far you ask? I could not have asked for a better experience! I have been placed in a situation where I get to be personally responsible for huge Fortune 500 accounts. It is truly a sink or swim environment. There was no formal training process. I learned by working on reporting and deliverables with senior consultants to pick up how our industry operates. This is the type of education I felt like I missed out on at Big Ten School. My formal education was hands-off and I desired more one-on-one learning opportunities. This is the type of environment that somebody like myself thrives in. 

Even though I had zero marketing background I have found working at DigitalRelevance through the Orr Fellowship to be both energizing and exiting day in, day out. I learn so much everyday and continue to learn more about myself and what I am capable of as a professional. If you are ever given the opportunity take a job in an unfamiliar industry I encourage everyone to embrace the challenge! 

The Value of Investing in Your Peers

Friday, August 22, 2014 by Kevin Stewart

Recent college graduates typically look to those at least twice their age for career advice: parents, professors, and mentors. We will often overlook some of our greatest advisors—our peers. Due to the nature of the Orr Fellowship, it is not uncommon for recent grads to find valuable mentors who are only a few years their senior.

At the Orr Fellowship Class of 2014’s onboarding, first-year Fellows had the opportunity to hear from some former Fellows that are already rising to success. 

Sally Reasoner, a Fellow from the class of 2011, is one of those spritely successes. Sally’s latest role is now working to develop the talent of the Indiana tech community. As the IndyX Initiative Lead at TechPoint, she manages efforts to both retain the technically skilled individuals from Indiana universities and recruit established technical professionals back to the state. 

A huge supporter of the Fellowship, Sally was eager to share some of her early, yet inspiring, career experiences. Like many curious and confused Fellows that pass through the program, Sally had an idea of what her career would look like, both before and after graduation from the Fellowship:

“I originally planned on going to law school. But then I decided to postpone for two years and enroll after the Fellowship.”

Her plans changed, however, after she connected with TechPoint CEO, Mike Langellier: 

He joked, “That’s cute you think you’re going to law school... No, you’re coming to work for TechPoint.” 

And so Sally did. It is this type of serendipity that makes the mechanism of the Fellowship work. Of course, it has fantastic leadership from its board, exceptional host companies to supply the parts, passionate Fellows to power the machine, and a blossoming Indianapolis technology scene to lay the track. Even so, it takes a little something else to make this apparatus tick:

“Invest in your peers.”

That was the advice Langellier passed on to Sally, which she then echoed to the first-year Fellows. Such a simple sentiment, but that is where the spark of the program comes from. The Orr Fellowship thrives on its network: both internally and externally within the Indianapolis community.

Let her words be a call to action for both recent and future college grads: True value in business comes from the quality of relationships that we build. In addition to building lasting friendships and relationships, keeping an open mind about our career paths can be the most rewarding career goal. By devoting ourselves to professional and personal growth, amidst a network of likeminded individuals, the possibilities are vast and exciting. 

Are you Strong?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 by Emily Richards

When asked to name your strengths you probably don’t list words like connectedness, activator, or woo. After taking the Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment, myself and the other first-year Fellows have a new way to describe our strengths that might include words like these. Debra Jones walked us through our new found strengths at the second part of our Orr Fellowship onboarding. Debra is currently the President and CEO of Performant Solutions, a human resources and leadership development company. She has also worked as a Global Director of Human Resources at Orr Fellow host company, Interactive Intelligence.

After reading Strength Finder 2.0 and taking the personality quiz, each of us was awarded 5 of 34 possible adjectives to describe our personality. We were then able to compare and contrast our strengths to better understand who we are professionally. Debra explained that a strength is something you do repeatedly, happily, and successfully. Often times, the world teaches us to focus on our weaknesses: which leaves us feeling frustrated and discouraged. Learning to hone our strengths and identify our weaknesses is a much more likely path to success. 

By working in your strengths you will find new enthusiasm for your work. Engagement is 73-80% more likely when you are able to work in your strengths. On the flip side, there is only a 9% chance of being engaged if you are forced to focus on your weaknesses. Communicating your strengths clearly to your manager can be helpful when trying to incorporate them into your day-to day regimen.  

Another way to look at it is that your strengths are your professional competitive advantage. You want to find ways to use your strengths to excel on a daily basis. This can be organizing a task before getting started, having a conversation with a co-worker, or setting achievable goals to encourage your competitive side. While it is impossible to ignore your weaknesses, you should work to find a balance and recognize that it is impossible to be good at everything.

So next time you feel like you’re in a rut, take a step back and try to look at it from a different angle. If you have a “woo” personality go talk with someone you don’t know very well; if being a learner is one of your strengths, have an interesting book near your desk to help motivate you. Whatever your strength, embrace it, live it, and work in it.

Confessions of an Orr Fellow with a Liberal Arts Degree

Friday, August 15, 2014 by Erika Dirk

I have a confession: I’m an English major from Maryland. (Yes, I realize that you’re now going to scour this blog post and grin with smug satisfaction when you find a grammatical error, but maybe that means you’ll at least read the whole thing instead of skimming it for something interesting.)

Let me guess what you’re thinking: “Why aren’t you a teacher? Isn’t that what all English majors do? How did an East Coast-er like you end up joining an entrepreneurial business program in Indiana working for a software company when you don’t even like e-readers because they’re just not the same as a normal book?” …but I digress.

  1. Teaching can be an awesome and rewarding profession. I just don’t want to be a teacher.
  2. I stand by my preference for traditional books. You can’t have bookshelves full of e-books, and who doesn’t want an awesome library?
  3. Let me explain.

I came to Indiana kicking and screaming. I know that’s cliché, but the screaming part actually isn’t that far off the mark. My parents attended Indiana University, loved it, and wanted me to have the same amazing experience, so they graciously offered to fund my college tuition – if I attended IU. Grateful daughter that I am, I thanked them for their generosity and applied to only one school.

The first semester was rough. I was homesick and missed my family, people from the Midwest didn’t understand my sarcastic “East Coast” sense of humor (and of course that’s their fault, not mine, right?), and I felt friendless and uncomfortable in my new surroundings. I debated transferring back to Maryland. 

Second semester arrived, however, and things started getting easier. I made new friends, immersed myself in my classes, and got involved with organizations on campus. By senior year, I was VP of Leadership Development for Panhellenic Association, the largest women’s organization on campus, and had formed friendships that I’m confident will last my entire life. With this independence, confidence, and happiness within a university I had come to love came a new sense of apprehension: what next?

Panicked about the future, I learned about the Orr Fellowship through a friend and applied because, honestly, I didn’t know what else to do. As I worked through the recruitment process I sometimes wondered what I was doing, but one aspect of the program kept bringing me back: the people. Everyone I met seemed enthused about his or her experience, the social environment reminded me of the student organizations I belonged to in college, and frankly, I didn’t want to start out on my own again. So I joined the Orr Fellowship. And yes, I joined at least partially for the social safety net and proximity to my college friends in Indianapolis, and ended up working for a software company.

So where does an English major fit in at a company that provides a point of sale and inventory management software solution to retailers?(Yeah, I didn’t know what it meant at first either). My first projects at RICS Software involved “content creation,” which is a fancy marketing term that, loosely translated, means “writing stuff” like ebooks and whitepapers (Translation: articles about industry topics). My first attempts were shaky, but after a few months, I became more comfortable discussing retail technology and trends.  

Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t an entirely smooth transition. Even now, there are days I love my job and days I hate it. And that’s okay. When I’m unhappy, I’ve found it’s usually because there’s something wrong with my way of approaching my work, and that realization has been the most important learning experience during my fledgling career.

In the past year, my role has expanded to include building lead nurturing email campaigns, constructing our editorial calendar, creating brand guidelines, standardizing terminology, and more. Right now, I’m in the early phases of restructuring our client-facing Knowledge Base to be a more effective and supportive tool for our Product Consulting team. This has nothing to with my college degree, but it’s the most energizing and exciting project I’ve had thus far because the leadership team at RICS encouraged me to find a problem in the company and form my own project to fix it. The independence and ownership of my work is invigorating. And despite my liberal arts degree (or perhaps, because of it), I’m handling it just fine.

Here’s my point: with the Orr Fellowship, our companies don’t hire us because we have specific skills and training. They hire us because we’re smart, driven individuals with a knack for problem solving and a natural curiosity that keeps us learning, evolving, and making a difference wherever we can. We tackle whatever’s thrown at us with enthusiasm and dedication. 

So if you’re a liberal arts student who wants a challenge that pushes you out of your comfort zone, apply to the Orr Fellowship. You’re not the only one who benefits – companies need well-rounded employees and they value diverse backgrounds. Don’t let the technological and business foundations of many of the companies scare you away – I almost let that happen and it would have been a huge mistake. 

My most important learning experiences have originated from discomfort, and I encourage you to take the plunge and try something new for two years. You just might surprise yourself. 

And if you’re a business student who’s contemplating becoming an artist after reading this blog post because you want the chance to experience discomfort in order to become a more well-rounded person… don’t be stupid. Apply for the Fellowship, get some experience, become an entrepreneur and start your own company eventually. You’ll get your fair share of risk and discomfort; don’t you worry. 

The Perfect Puzzle

Thursday, August 14, 2014 by Joe Rust

This past June I kicked off my journey as a first-year Fellow with the annual SummOrr Retreat at Rawhide Ranch in Brown County. We did a variety of activities to help us become more acquainted with the program, as well as each other. One of my favorite moments was when we were given the “simple task” of building a 50 piece puzzle as fast as possible. As soon as our retreat facilitator, Pat, gave us the go-ahead, we frantically began pouring out the pieces on the table. On my team, we followed the usual technique to find all the edges and corners first. We then noticed that we were short a few pieces...and on top of that we had SpongeBob pieces that had no place in our Avengers puzzle!


Our first reaction was to scream in frustration, particularly at Pat, that we had been cheated in this game! Then, as we looked around, we noticed the room erupt into chaos as the other teams were having the same problem. It wasn’t long before most teams figured out that their missing pieces were scattered across the room amongst the other teams’ puzzles. Certain individuals began running around with their extra pieces and were trading them for the pieces they needed in return. As the chaos settled and teams began to finish their puzzles, we saw teams switching tables to help the others finish. It was a magnificent sight to see teamwork at its best-Fellows were going beyond their individual team task to help complete the overall big picture, or should I say puzzle?

Throughout the rest of the retreat we did activities that focused on communication, diversity, and even completed a scavenger hunt across our great city. There were times throughout the retreat I wondered, “What value does this have for me as a Fellow?” However, when the weekend was over and I was on my way to work on Monday morning, I began to reflect on the retreat. It was then that I realized the value in each “piece” of the retreat and that, when put together, it creates a picture of the Orr Fellowship: a puzzle of intertwined characteristics, people, values, and ideas. Beyond that, each person adds their own unique piece to the puzzle. We all come from a variety of backgrounds, schools and disciplines that give us each a distinct shape to fit perfectly into the Orr Fellowship. Professional development seminars, case study competitions, and monthly Business Leader Meetings with the greatest minds in Indianapolis, are other integral pieces to the puzzle. These activities and opportunities are so unique that they act as a piece that can only be found in one complete puzzle; The Orr Fellowship.

 

The best part is that we all have to contribute to make this beautiful puzzle a reality. There are still a few more missing pieces. Are you a missing piece?

 

Orr Fellows climbed to the top of the Monument in downtown Indianapolis

Orr Fellows climbed to the top of the Monument for the scavenger hunt. 

Q&A: Kristian Andersen- Designer, Founder, Investor & Family-Man

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 by Erika Krukowski

Each month, Fellows gather for business leader meetings (BLM)an opportunity to learn from talented and successful entrepreneurs in the Indianapolis area. Recently, strategic design consultancy, KA+A, hosted nearly 70 Fellows at their downtown office on Monument Circle. Kristian Andersendesigner, founder, and investorshared his business acumen in an interactive Q&A format. The Fellows enjoyed the candid conversation (along with the craft beer on tap).

As KA+A’s first Orr Fellow, I’ve witnessed the impressive resume and life Kristian leads. Kristian splits his time between Indianapolis and Arkansas where he beautifully manages the design firm, his venture capital fund, and a family of five, soon to be six, children.

In addition to his work at KA+A, Kristian is deeply involved in the Indianapolis startup community as an active angel investor and co-founder of Gravity Ventures. The co-founder of startups TinderBox, Lessonly, Visible.vc and Pathagility. In addition, Kristian co-founded the Speak Easy and Indy Made, initiatives to help connect and grow the startup community. Kristian has long been a fan and supporter of the Orr Fellowship. So much so, that he founded the Arkansas Fellowship, inspired by our beloved Indianapolis program.

First-year Fellow, Ben Roess, moderated the conversation. Some of Kristian’s most memorable advice is included below:

Q: Have you always known you wanted to go into design?

Yes. Ever since I was seven-years-old. Though I grew up without a telephone in my room, my dad bought me the first color Mac computer which set me on a collision course between design and technology for the rest of my life. 

Q: Is there anything that you would have done differently? Any advice for 22-year-olds that you have learned through your experiences?

1) I wonder what would have happened if I had sat at the feet of the master for a few years. I immediately went into freelancing and the creation of the design firm. I had no idea how to make sales calls, prospect, and had to fumble and scrape my knees for a few years to learn.

2) Figure out what you want to be famous for early on in life, and find the smartest people to teach you how to do it. Surround yourself with smart people and good things will happen.

3) There are three great lies that people perpetuate in life about being successful.

1. Everyone needs to go to college

2. Own a home

3. Follow passion

The phrase “follow your passion” is fundamentally flawed because we think that passion is something we love. In fact, passion comes from the Latin word, meaning “to suffer.” Rather than do what you love (terrible advice), find something in life that is so great you’re willing to suffer for it.

Q: You commute back and forth between Indianapolis and Arkansas. Can you tell us a little bit about how you achieve the work-life balance?

Well, first-off, there is no such thing as a work-life balance. Work is life, life is work. It is a daily struggle to remain focused. You need to find people who love you enough to remind you what you believe in. For me, this person is my wife, Brandi, who has the authority, freedom, and grace to remind me.

Q: Why is Indianapolis your favorite city in the world?

Though the infrastructure of Indianapolis hasn’t changed much, the spirit, economic development, excitement, and pride have all grown over the past decade. Indianapolis crushes other cities in terms of growth and wealth creation, which is primarily due to startups. Indy has experienced over $5 billion in new wealth creation over the last five years, all from companies that started in someone’s basement. Ten years ago there were not many angel investors to be found in Indianapolis, and now there is a startup being funded daily in the city. 

On a Corner in the Circle City

Friday, August 8, 2014 by Stewart Burns
A few weeks ago I met an Orr Fellow for breakfast at a pleasant little joint on the corner of 49th and Penn. Ten minutes after opening, there were around 15 patrons ordering omelets and downing white mugs of black coffee. 

Sitting on the far side of the restaurant was a first-year Orr Fellow. At a table in the middle sat three Orr Fellow alumni, sharing a celebratory sendoff meal for one of them, who was heading off to a top ranked MBA program. It’s possible that this noticeable concentration of Orr Fellows was a result of this establishment’s exceptional cinnamon toast. I prefer another theory. 

I believe that the types of people who are attracted to the Orr Fellowship, and to whom the Orr Fellowship is attractive, are those who arrive at breakfast spots before the doors are unlocked, to get a jump on their day.  Fellows are the ones who you will see moving around town with a purpose, from one meeting to another. 

Although many of us are transplants to this city, we are an engaged group. At times we may even appear to be among the most tenured residents. We are present in all corners of this Circle City. A remarkable element of the Orr Fellows, both past and present, is their palpable interest in this community. Something would be amiss if a group of Fellows were in the same room and the conversation failed to touch on current events.

 
Individual Orr Fellows lead active roles in countless organizations. Community, political, business, religious, educational, arts, and many other groups are supported by the commitment of Orr Fellows. 
 
Fortunately, after a year in Indianapolis, while working at KSM Consulting and becoming active in the Orr Fellowship, I’ve realized I am continually surrounded by people who start their days early and work hard late into the night. These are the people whose lives are made up of great work experiences and a love for this community. They do not simply clock in and out of work. Instead of working for the weekends, they work for each and every day. For this, I am incredibly fortunate and very grateful.  
 
Stewart Burns is a second-year Orr Fellow working at KSM Consulting. #LiveIndy

Business Card Etiquette

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 by Abigail Pautz

They're easily misplaced, deceivingly sharp and have many functions: makeshift straight edge, impromptu post-it note, finger slicer and awkward speaking prop.

Sometimes you feel really accomplished getting one, and you keep it in your secret hiding spot as a trophy and memento of the time you met Bono's manager. 

Business cards. 

They are easily the trickiest paper goods you'll face during Orr Fellowship recruitment, and probably for the rest of your career (until we start trading chickelet-sized microchips that project talking heads with recorded elevator speeches).  

Here are some tips for how to gracefully ask for someone's business card, and what to do once you get it.

1. Establish solid conversation

Make sure you have been speaking to this person for more than 5 minutes and have exchanged more conversation than: "Hi, my name's Abby. So, is everything in Indiana wrapped in bacon?"

2. Have an actual reason for asking for their card

If something in conversation sparks your interest, that's when you should seek a business card. Have a purpose for asking for their card, and have a real intention for following up with them that does not involve stalking them on LinkedIn or other social media.

3. Accept the card gracefully

Let them know of your intention to make contact, and thank them for their card...but don't make it weird. Don't laugh and say, "Oh, you shouldn't have!" or "If you insist." Just say thank you, and move on with the conversation. However, if their business card is really unique, feel free to comment on that.

Also, feel free to take a second to look over the business card to make sure that the information you anticipate needing is present. In many Asian cultures, simply taking a business card from someone and putting it in your back pocket is considered highly rude and will earn you a big rejection if you try to connect on LinkedIn in the future. Taking a moment to look over the information communicates respect and interest.

4. Store the card somewhere cool and dry

Seriously. Don't keep it in your sweaty hand where the ink will smear and you will be tempted to fold it into the world's smallest paper football.

If you have a padfolio or a wallet where you can store it discreetly, do so right after receiving it and resume conversation. If you are wearing a suit or collared shirt with a pocket on the chest, you can slip it there. I utilize this brilliant invention to hold cards, and it easily slips into a pocket or purse.

If you cannot discreetly put the card away, hold it carefully in one hand between your index finger and thumb to prevent urges to use it as a prop.

5. Make sure there is some conversation left to be had after obtaining the card

In most cases, it is a bit weird to get the business card, say thanks, and duck out. It leaves the impression that you are a superficial networker, and let's be honest, we all secretly hate that person who is way too facey.

If the conversation is at a natural close, that's another story. Move on and give yourself a second to internalize the conversation. I like to make a quick note on the card of how I met someone and what about the conversation was interesting or worth following up.

6. Don't be creative when handing out your own card

Don't put your business card in your hand and creepily slide it into the hand of the person you are introducing yourself to. You aren't a magician, and chances are they will be really confused. Instead, refer back to tips one and two.

7. Follow up in a timely manner

I personally adhere to the 48-hour rule if it is a truly valuable connection, but within a week should be the goal. Generally waiting three months before contacting someone isn't recommended, but you can be the judge of that based on the conversation you shared.

8. If someone gives you a card you don't want, take it anyway

And then wait 24 hours to see if you still really think it is not a helpful connection to pursue. Still a no? Recycle the card.

Important: Recycle the card only after you are at least 5 miles away from the person who handed it to you. Seeing you throw away their linen-finish business card could make for an uncomfortable situation.

9.  Basically, be appreciative and genuine in your networking efforts, and you'll make it rain (business cards). 

 

Abby Pautz, First Year Orr Fellow

Orr Fellowship Now Accepting Applications!

Monday, August 4, 2014 by Chloe Morrical

August 4th – a date I have repeated countless times to myself and to the Fellows. August 4th is the date that the Orr Fellowship application portal opens, the official start of recruitment for the Class of 2015.

Recruitment is one of the largest projects the Orr Fellowship takes on every year. Fellows scour college campuses for the next class of Orr Fellows, finding the best and brightest students who will take advantage of this opportunity. This will be my third year involved with Orr Fellowship recruitment, first, as a candidate, next, as Purdue’s Recruitment Lead, and now, as the Recruitment Champion.

As a candidate, I didn’t do many of the ‘right’ things. I knew an older Orr Fellow well from my involvement in Purdue Student Government, but I didn’t take her emails and attempts to tell me about the Orr Fellowship very seriously. I didn’t really know what the organization was about, and I wasn’t putting much effort into figuring it out. 

Weeks later, I heard my friends talking about an Orr Fellowship event they were attending that evening. It finally seemed relevant to me – if my peers, whom I respected and knew to be extremely motivated and intelligent individuals, were all interested in this opportunity, why wasn’t I? I immediately called my former contact, wondering if it was too late. I found out I had (luckily) called her on the application due date, and had only a couple of hours left to apply. 

From the moment I submitted my application, each piece of the recruitment process fell into place. I started to ‘get’ what she had been trying to tell me all along – that the Orr Fellowship is a different and superior experience when compared to most first-time job opportunities. A year ago, only a couple of months in, I had already realized how fortunate I was to have made the leap to apply (refer my past blog, Two Months In!, to see why).

Thankfully, my imperfect progression worked out in the end, but it could have been much more seamless had I started to learn about the Orr Fellowship earlier. The portal opens August 4th (yes, I’m repeating the date again); if you’re interested, head to our website to apply and start digging in! If you feel unsure about the course of your future, applying now can only give you more time to learn if this is the right path for you. To all applicants, best of luck and I look forward to meeting you throughout recruitment!

Your Recruitment Champ,

Chloe Morrical

The Seven Currencies of Entrepreneurship

Friday, July 18, 2014 by Camryn Walton

At our most recent Business Leader Meeting, Gerry Hays—Principal at Slane Capital and CEO of Better Retail—provided a unique and incredibly thought provoking perspective on building a business (and gave some of the best advice I’ve ever heard).

While many would argue that making money is the ultimate goal of starting a business, Gerry simply views money as a tool and a resource for getting things done.

According to Gerry, these are the seven alternative currencies entrepreneurs should be striving for:

  1. Relationships - Don’t create relationships for financial reasons, but rather pick your relationships first. Relationships over money, always.

  2. Service - Be willing to help other people be successful. Know what it is like to serve if you want others to serve you someday.

  3. Time - The only thing you can’t recover or replace is time. Value your time and be strategic with what you do with that time.

  4. Experience - It’s a hard and painful process to truly stretch yourself, but you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Experience intense and uncomfortable situations. Once you do, there is nothing that will come your way that you can’t deal with.

  5. Health - Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Be energetic and that energy will be contagious -- people want to be around exciting and energetic individuals.

  6. Gratefulness - Learn to appreciate other people. Think about how grateful you are for your opportunities. The more grateful you are as a person, the bigger you are as an entrepreneur.

  7. Learning - You can never stop learning. The more open to learning you are, the more accelerated you will be. You learn best when you fail, so don’t be afraid of failing. Surround yourself with people who will embrace your failures.

After articulating these seven currencies, Gerry explained one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard: there is no such thing as a big moment in the world of entrepreneurship. Instead, characterize your success in small moments and small wins. Life is full of small moments, and it’s all about how you handle those moments—engage people, recognize opportunity, and make good decisions and you will be successful.

Thank you, Gerry, for spending your Monday night sharing your experiences and inspiring a group of ambitious entrepreneurs.

Building a Foundation

Monday, June 9, 2014 by Mary Beth Kowalinski

From starting a sophisticated lawn mowing business in middle school that helped put him through college to becoming the CEO of Vinculum, a telecommunications technology firm, Jim Jay has had a successful career. As you might expect, there were some high highs and some low lows along the way. During a recent Orr Fellowship Business Leader meeting, Jim, who serves on the Orr Fellowship Board of Directors, shared his story.

At the heart of Jim’s story is a solid framework from which he builds his life. As Jim described it, imagine a steel tube with five circles that layer upon the next to create a solid piece of metal.  

At the core of his foundation is faith. Next comes family, which consists of his wife Marcia and their four fun-loving boys Carter, Cooper, Griffin, and Fletcher. Fulfilment is the next circle as he aims to understand his gift set and determine how to utilize it accordingly. Then comes fun. Jim makes sure to enjoy time with family and friends outside of day-to-day work life. And finally, fitness.

These five F’s work for Jim and his family, but he didn’t share his foundation so that we could all repeat it in our lives. Each of us will have our own story and a different foundation on which to build that story. Jim challenged the Orr Fellows to figure out our own individual core, the aspect of our lives that is steadfast and foundational. From there, we should have a basis to build our lives and career. This foundation is what will help see us through all of the ups and downs.

Jim is a Butler University graduate who loves the city of Indianapolis, reading the Wall Street Journal, and fixing up homes. He believes in empowering the people around him and that there is often more to learn through failure than success.

We are grateful to be able to learn from inspiring leaders like Jim Jay who serve on the Orr Fellowship board of directors. Thanks for the advice on how to build a foundation for success as we launch our careers! 

10 Career-building Quotes from Indy CEO Ann Murtlow

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 by Eric Murphy

On April 30, the Orr Fellows were privileged to meet with an experienced local CEO, Ann Murtlow of the United Way of Central Indiana. The Fellows showed up at United Way’s office on Meridian Street with empty stomachs and eager minds, and they left having satisfied both. Crackers, chips, cookies, and soft drinks were offered bountifully, but the real nourishment came from Murtlow’s golden nuggets of career building advice. 

Murtlow, a graduate of Lehigh University who majored in Chemical Engineering, started her career as a Design Engineer at Bechtel Power Corporation. As a driven and management-oriented individual, Murtlow quickly climbed the career ladder and took on leadership positions in a wide variety of industries, from multi-national energy corporations to locally-focused community foundations. Murtlow became rooted in Indiana during her nine year tenure as CEO of Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL) and has sat at the helm of the United Way of Central Indiana since April 2013. Her broad range of managerial expertise, international business exposure, female-in-business perspective and natural leadership abilities have provided her with a vast expanse of wisdom relevant to the lives of Orr Fellows—and she shared it all generously last week.

Here are 10 of Murtlow’s tastiest golden nuggets (of wisdom):

  1. People don’t leave their jobs, they leave their bosses.
  2. In a small company, it’s all about team effort. You do what needs to be done.
  3. The best organizations don’t make the same mistake twice.
  4. There is no substitute for hard work.
  5. Always make sure you’re outside your comfort zone. Volunteer for stuff. Your growth is only limited by your willingness to volunteer.
  6. If you hire good people and you micro-manage them, they will leave you as soon as they can. Hire good people, set high standards, and then let them go get it done.
  7. Hard decisions are really necessary. But when you become a leader, your first allegiance is to your company.
  8. If you treat people like they’re trustworthy, they will be trustworthy.
  9. You’re the sum of your experiences. You take something away from every experience you have.
  10. People really want to have a meaningful role. They want responsibility. People all over the world are very motivated by that.

Murtlow also recommended a few good reads on leadership: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, and The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.

Ann Murtlow has spent a good deal of her life working hard to make organizations better from the top down. Like many Orr Fellows, working on long-term solutions to big problems is something that has always enticed her. The Indianapolis community, as well, is one of her passions. As an outsider to Indiana who came here for business, Murtlow reflected on her decision to be here for the long-term: “As the CEO of IPL, a regulated utility company, I had to get involved in the community to be successful. I only planned to be here for maybe 5 years, but then I fell in love with the community.”

Indianapolis is proud to have leaders like Ann Murtlow. Many thanks to her for sharing her time and wisdom with the Orr Fellowship!

Announcing the Orr Fellowship Class of 2014!

Thursday, April 17, 2014 by Katie Hayes

It's crazy to think that the Orr Fellowship hosted Finalist Day over three months ago. The day marks the culmination of an exciting three month recruitment process and the potential beginning of an even more exciting two-year experience in the Orr Fellowship. 

Twenty-four host companies, representing some of the city's fastest growing tech startups, and 50 Fellow hopefuls, representing the best and brightest graduating seniors from Indiana and Ohio universities, were present at Finalist Day at the Regions Tower downtown. Current Fellows were present to engage the hopeful students in active discussion on their experiences with their host companies and the Fellowship. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of energy in the room. Floor to ceiling windows around the building flooded the room with the hustle and bustle of downtown, and images of the opportunities to come.

On Finalist Day morning, Scott Brenton always says that your interviews are very much like first dates. You either feel the chemistry and connection, or you don't.  Our host companies were feeling the chemistry that day. Though host companies arrived to Finalist Day anticipating to hire one Fellow, many left having extended offers to two or three Fellow hopefuls.  This surge in chemistry has given us our biggest ever Orr Fellowship class.  

38 new Fellows will now join us and their respective host companies in June and today we are ready to release their names and extend to them a well-deserved congratulations! 

New Fellow Name

Host Company

Ben Roess Angie's List
Daniela Tomas Angie's List
Tanner Halbig Angie's List
Chelsea Shew Apparatus
Michael Welling BidPal
Brendan Heinz BidPal
Andrea Massimilian CloudOne
Annie Kennedy Courseload
Aaron Harrison Courseload
William Boeckmann DigitalRelevance
Megan Schuman DigitalRelevance
Kevin Kidd hc1.com
Caroline Eberle Interactive Intelligence
Erin Whittaker Interactive Intelligence
Erika Krukowski KA+A
Brooke Gallagher KSM Consulting
Lindsay Dun KSM Consulting
Joe Rust KSM Consulting
Abigail Pautz LDI
Caitlin Hickey Milhaus
Kevin Stewart Milhaus
Kendall Kilander One Click Ventures
Camryn Walton One Click Ventures
Alexis Kaiser Orbis Education
Kyle Pendergast OurHealth
Phillip Tarnowski pan Testing
Nathan Bosse PERQ
Emily Richards PERQ
Kristin Jonason RICS Software
Tyler Williams Right On Interactive
Drew Songer SproutBox
Sara Napierkowski Teradata
Ian Brown Teradata
Thomas Marvel TinderBox
Marcus Wadell TinderBox
Adam Johnson WebLink
Alex Davis WebLink

Branding Yourself

Thursday, April 17, 2014 by Drew Beechler

Working for a time on the Content Marketing & Research team at ExactTarget, I had a unique opportunity to see the inner-workings of thought leadership initiatives. Being a part of the overarching Marketing and Thought Leadership organizations, the Content Marketing team is centered around developing thought leadership and industry expertise for ExactTarget. The principles involved with promoting thought leadership and industry expertise for brands, though, can be just as important and beneficial on your personal brand.

Especially as a young professional, it’s vital to begin to build your own personal brand. Below are a few key points and starters for developing a professional personal brand. By no means am I a thought leader or industry expert, but these principles are taken from my time working on the Content Marketing team, working for Kyle Lacy co-author of Branding Yourself, and from a little bit of personal experience.

Develop Your Brand Focus
What do you want to be known for? What are you passionate about? What areas do you want people to think of you first when they are looking for an answer or solution?

I recently went through this process for myself as I relaunched my own personal website and blog. I decided on four central interests and passions in my life for which I want the content I personally publish externally to revolve around:
●    The intersection of marketing and technology.
●    Startups.
●    Disruptive technology trends (which happen to be revolving around mobile technology currently).
●    Indianapolis.

This personal focus provides consistency and focus on a few key interests where you would like to be seen as a “thought leader.” This also allows you to concentrate on a certain area you would like to become an expert on. It focuses your time toward that “10,000 hour” mark of becoming an expert Malcolm Gladwell talks about in Outliers.

Produce
After deciding what you want your brand to focus around, you have to start producing something to promote that focus. This is a significant part. It’s important to have perseverance as well and keep at it. Keep producing new “content.” Whether it is blog posts, posts on other blogs or news sites, a book, whitepapers, pictures, art, videos, or social media posts, produce it. This brings me to my next point: social media.

Social Media
Social media can be both a blessing and a curse. It will either detract from your brand or compliment it. One of the first steps would be to cleanse your social media and online identity from drunken tirades and escapades from college (or last night) and any other posts that would embarrass you. 

Social media can also compliment your own personal brand very well and be an avenue you use to promote your own content and personal brand. On my own personal Twitter handle (@drewbeechler) I typically tweet articles, stats, and insights concerning most of the areas of focus I mentioned earlier. I also love random, funny tweets and tweets about personal aspects of my life. It’s important to still have a personality and personable.

Social media is inherently personal - and it should be. Social media marketers will advise brands all the time to use the 80/20 rule where 20% of your posts promote your brand while 80% of your posts are content that provides a Youtility to your audience and engages them. I think it’s even more important for your personal brand. I suggest adopting a 60/20/20 rule where 60% of your posts are useful to your audience and giving them engaging information, 20% should be personal, relatable posts about yourself and showcase personality, and 20% (or less) can be self-promotion.

Network
The Orr Fellowship has been the perfect avenue for this for everyone involved. If you aren’t a part of a formal program like the Orr Fellowship, though, there are plenty of ways to build that personal network. Find like-minded people and where they meet or gather. Groups like Lean Startup CirclesVergeIndianapolis Social MediaEDGE Mentoring, and others provide both formal and informal aspects of networking and mentoring. Get involved in groups like these and build relationships with others with similar aspirations. And if you’re still in college, you should also check out and apply to the Orr Fellowship next fall.

These quick topics are just a couple avenues for building your personal brand and developing a professional online identity. For anyone interested more in building their personal brand, I would recommend reading Kyle Lacy and Erik Deckers’ book Branding Yourself.

Fighting for Perspective

Thursday, April 17, 2014 by Austin Zartman


The first rule of fight club is that you do not talk about fight club. The second rule of fight club is that you DO NOT talk about fight club. Too bad. I’m here to tell you about fight club. More specifically, I’m talking about a group of Orr Fellows that gets together after work to test their mettle against a never-tiring 100-pound bag and whichever sadistic Trainer of the Day is commanding the mike (please not Rob).

Fight club begins with a high-intensity cardio session that will make even the most seasoned athlete sweat followed by 8 three-minute rounds of boxing that will leave your shoulders, arms, and hands aching for days, and ends with a core workout that will send painful reminders with any subsequent laugh or deep breath. By the end, we’re sweat-drenched, dead tired, barely-functional human beings. It’s a uniquely terrible sight as we each become a version of ourselves that hardly anyone ever gets to see. 

So why do we put ourselves through the daily torment of a workout that beats us down into gross, smelly versions of ourselves in front of a group of people that normally sees us in the best light? We do it because it gives us the chance to remove our carefully crafted masks and see behind everyone else’s. It gives us a different perspective so that we can build a more complete understanding of each other. 

In normal life, it’s easy to hide behind a well-groomed appearance and business casual attire. But there’s no place to hide when you’re standing in a pool of sweat fighting to catch your breath during the eighth round of relentless punching. In that moment, you’re struggling with everyone else, striving to get through the three minutes. There’s no way to impress your peers other than to push through the pain and finish the round.

Fight club is an equalizer, but certainly not the only one. There are plenty of other opportunities that allow you to see your peers, co-workers, family, and friends in a different light. Some of my favorites: biking the Monon, grabbing beers at Flat 12, eating somewhere new, dancing at Taps & Dolls until 3AM, attending a Pacers game, competing in trivia, road-tripping to Canada, and debating the superiority of Rock Lobster over Casbah. Seek out those situations that let you discover the facets of people that you never knew existed. You’ll be rewarded with deeper, more genuine relationships that you can imagine... even if it means you have to punch, kick, grunt, groan, scream, or cry to get there.

Race Relations at the Crossroads of America

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 by Elizabeth White

Three seconds: the amount of time it took me to leap at the opportunity to attend the IndyHub Exchange Leadership Event -- “How Race Influences Perspective.”

For as long as I can remember, discussions surrounding diversity– race, religion, gender, artistic, you name it –have enthralled me. It’s been two years since I stepped into a classroom, and while life is always a macro-classroom with micro-opportunities to learn, this event allowed me to take an hour to fully immerse myself in an important topic with a diverse group of individuals passionate about similar issues. 

Through the initial ice breaker, we were reminded how forces outside of our control, such as the economic wealth of our parents, cultural immersions we were afforded while growing up, and positive mentors to whom we were exposed, affect our opportunity trajectory. As the event progressed, it became very apparent that being black, African-American, or otherwise non-white in our society too often means you have experienced more compounding setbacks than your white counterpart. The word “race” makes people uncomfortable. For many, it’s because it is the word from which racism derives, and it forces us to confront the salient historical events that are unavoidably associated with violence, ignorance, and emotional pain. For others yet, it is a reminder of everyday life and the struggles faced. Race naturally differentiates us from (or unites us with) others, and is almost always associated with controversy. Recently, I’ve experienced a trend that, however well-intended, attempts to make race a non-factor by pretending that it doesn’t exist. The goal may be to prove we are all equal from a human rights perspective, which we are of course, but if we attempt to make race obsolete, we overlook what makes us unique as individuals and powerful as a society. To recognize differences, and collaborate through diversity is to cultivate a more empathetic, more self-aware community. We can only move forward if we know where we come from.

Though Indianapolis is not typically celebrated for its diversity,  that doesn’t mean it isn’t diverse. As a state known for being the ‘Crossroads of America’ we, as Hoosiers, are at a cross roads on how we approach race relations. Do we make race a non-factor by pretending it doesn’t exist, or do we celebrate our differences in order to appreciate our uniqueness as a community? The forum today was a welcome reminder that Hoosiers are host to many different perspectives, all of which make Indianapolis the vibrant, burgeoning community we all know and love. Ideas, innovation, and shared community await, if only we have the courage to reach out to one another and learn more about what is happening in our own backyards.  

A huge thank you to Leroy Lewis (Indiana Assessors Office) and Mali Jeffers (Mosaic City), for moderating the event and for vetting such crucial conversations with grace and poise.

Interested in attending events that connect you with other individuals around Indianapolis? Head to IndyHub.org to find more information about upcoming events and ways to get involved.

 

Governor Pence's Keys to Leadership: Servant Leader Mindset, Vision and Character

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 by Ellen Funke
 
The Orr Fellowship was privileged to spend an afternoon in January with prominent state leaders. Governor Mike Pence was joined by Victor Smith (Secretary of Commerce for the state of Indiana) and Eric Doden (President of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation) to talk with Orr Fellows about Indiana, their vision for the state and leadership. 
Governor Pence’s comments centered on three essential elements of leadership: servant leadership, vision and character. The book Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf has shaped Pence’s view of what it means to consider others to be more important than oneself. Servant leadership, according to Pence and Greenleaf, has the greatest potential for the greatest accomplishment. 
 
Pence also recommended the book Good to Great, a staple in business classes, saying “the most successful CEOs were all about relationships…you are at a time in your lives when you need to be deciding what kind of leaders you want to be.”  
 
 
Governor Pence's remarks were filled with nuggets of wisdom. I chose a few of my favorites to share here: 
 
On the Orr Fellowship: 
“There are young people in 49 states that wish they could be you.” 
 
On Indiana: 
“We could be that state that other states continue to look to for how it’s supposed to be done.” 
On leadership: 
"While leadership is a gift that can be given in our lives, it is also a skill that can be developed." 
 
On vision: 
“Vision is clearly articulated specific goals, with room for flexibility.” 
 
On character: 
“Please reject the notion that adversity creates character. What you are pouring into your life up until that moment of challenge is what will come out when you’re pressed.” 
 
Thank you to Governor Pence, Victor Smith and Eric Doden for an incredible Business Leader Meeting, and thanks to all BLM speakers for sharing your experience and insight with the Orr Fellowship. 

New Fellow Class of 2014 Kicks Off with the Pacers and Scotty's!

Monday, February 17, 2014 by Chloe Morrical
The Orr Fellow Class of 2014 was given a grand welcome last Friday evening. Nearly 90 Orr Fellows gathered together at Apparatus, an Orr Fellowship host company, for introductions and ice breakers before heading to the Pacers vs. Trail Blazers game. After an exhilarating overtime victory, the group convened at Scotty’s Brewhouse for appetizers, beers and more get-to-know-you’s. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Below is an interview with new Fellow, Phil Tarnowski, regarding his first experience with the Orr Fellows and his evening spent with his mentor. Phil is currently attending Indiana University and will begin working at host company pan after graduation.
1. How did you learn about the Orr Fellowship?
I worked at one of the host companies over the summer, digitalrelevance. Eric Murphy was the Orr Fellow there and told me about it. He’s my mentor now so it worked out.
2. The main purpose of the event was to meet your mentor and get to know them on a more personal level. How did initial meeting with your mentor go?
The initial meeting obviously went really well. I sat next to him at digitalrelevance and got to know him well over the summer. I hadn’t seen him since the summer so it was good to catch up with him. When he was recruiting at IU, it was a different dynamic because we were meeting on more of a professional level. 
3. You accepted your offer to become an Orr Fellow in mid-December, but this is the first event officially meeting all of the other Fellows. How did you feel leading up to the event?
I was pretty excited beforehand, knowing I was going to meet people I’ll spend the next two years with. One of the board members said the Fellowship is so cool because it brings together so many like-minded individuals in the business world, so I was excited to meet people with similar thoughts yet different backgrounds.
4. What was your favorite part of the event?
The Pacers game was, it was one of the best games we could have seen. George Hill hitting that shot putting the game into overtime. It was pretty cool to get to know the Fellows, hang out, and meet new people all while watching the game. It was a lot of fun.
5. What are your expectations of your overall Orr Fellowship experience? Have those changed since Friday?
I wouldn't say they’ve changed at all. The reason I did the Orr Fellowship was because I wanted to be with like minded people that want to be leaders for business in the future. I wanted to work for small entrepreneurial companies rather than large conglomerates. I want to go to pan and make an impact right away, and see my ideas help the company. After meeting everyone and seeing how fun everyone is, I realize that it won’t be straight business at all. It’s great that I’ll have that group of people to go do things with.
 

A Family Company with Spunk: One Click Ventures

Thursday, February 13, 2014 by Austin Zartman

In May 2011, I joined the One Click family as a marketing intern with zero knowledge of e-commerce and pitifully limited work experience. Despite my meager qualifications, I was given a chance at One Click and had a phenomenal summer. After the internship, I discovered the Orr Fellowship, learned that One Click was a host company, went through the recruitment process, and was selected against all odds to join One Click as an Orr Fellow. For the longest time, I wondered why I was chosen out of a group of significantly more qualified candidates. The answer came two years later, at a Business Leader Meeting (BLM) hosted by One Click’s co-founders, Randy and Angie Stocklin.

At its heart, One Click is a family company. Randy and Angie are business partners and life partners. Some of their earliest employees were friends and family. This has developed into a culture where team members are treated like family and the office is a space that is designed to feel like home. So when I heard that One Click would be hosting a BLM at our offices, I was excited for everyone to see the place that so accurately represents One Click and shows the time and effort our co-founders have invested into the company. One Click is a place where building strong interpersonal relationships is encouraged and supported. 

We know each other’s weird facts. We eat together. We work out together. We hang out together. We cheer for each other’s successes and support each other during hardships. It’s a company where moving on to new career opportunities is treated as a celebration of a person’s professional development and with genuine happiness at their growth as an individual. Randy and Angie want each team member to succeed, even if that means it happens outside One Click’s walls.

On the day of the business leader meeting, Randy and Angie showed the Fellows our brightly-colored hallways, store-themed meeting rooms, fully-stocked café, numerous breakout areas, in-house order fulfillment center and warehouse, as well as our game room replete with astro-turf carpeting, ping pong table, billiards, foosball, and big screen TV. One Fellow commented, “Who knew a place like this exist could exist in Greenwood?” I can think of two who did. 

During the meeting, someone asked Randy about the work we do at One Click. He said, “Any number of talented people can do what we do here. It’s not a matter of finding talented people. It’s a matter of finding good people.” One Click hires not based on how someone will impact the bottom line, but how they will contribute to the One Click family. The rest works itself out. 

I believe the Fellowship operates in a similar way. How do you choose from a heap of equally talented individuals with remarkable achievements and life experiences? The answer: you choose who feels right. 

Any number of talented people can do the jobs we do at the companies we work for. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about building a family that supports, challenges, and ultimately improves each of its members. To Randy and Angie, I was family. To me, One Click is family. The Orr Fellowship is family. And above all else, family is what matters.